Barmer, Rajasthan

Barmer Applique

Applique artisans belong to a community that migrated from Pakistan during the war of 1971 and settled in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Presently most of the applique work is done in Barmer District of Western Rajasthan. The Marwari communities create the most prestigious Rajasthani applique work. Another story is that this craft travelled from Arabia or Middle East to India through trade interaction.

Applique is the technique of sewing smaller pieces of fabric on a larger fabric in order to create patchwork. It is an ancient art form used to create various decorative and useful items. A variation of this technique is used to create Barmer Applique. Sometimes worn out pieces of cloth can be used to create beautiful patterns, enhancing the economical aspect of this craft.

This desert based applique was traditionally sewn on bedspreads of black and brown bases and the motifs are of natural scenes like trees, leaves, flowers and animals. In Rajasthan, women of six villages in Barmer district prepare these appliqués.



A fabric is traced and cut into desired places or shapes.


Then it is pasted onto a base fabric using home made gum (gawar gum).


This fabric is taken to ladies where reverse applique technique is used to stitch and decorate the fabric.